Supporters to free Joe Lopez held rallies at county courthouses in three cities simultaneously on Thursday. The rallies were held in Brownsville, San Antonio and Monterrey, Mexico.
The former Mazz singer was convicted in 2006 on multiple sex offense charges involving a minor. He was sentenced to 32 years in prison, but because he will serve the sentences concurrently, they amount to 20 years in prison. Lopez’s full prison term would end on October 27, 2026. He is eligible for parole on October 26, 2016.
For years Free Joe Lopez supporters claim the trial was rigged, by having biased jurors and evidence that was either tainted or withheld, according to Rio Grande Valley television station News Center 23.
Supporters believe the system was rigged by former District Attorney Armando Villalobos, who is currently in prison, convicted of accepting bribes and money for favors in the courtroom.
“You have an innocent man sitting in prison due to a campaign event that Joe was supposed to play at,” supporter Sandra Trevino told News Center 23. “He [Villalobos] did not cancel in time so you don’t get your money back and because of that Joe Lopez is sitting in prison.”
Trevino’s husband, Michael, was wrongfully convicted for sexual assault and was successfully exonerated after 8 years in prison by attorney William Haebern, who now represents Lopez.
“So let’s do the right thing and let’s bring Joe home and let’s exonerate him, it’s time,” said Trevino.
WATCH: Free Joe Lopez supporters rally in Brownsville